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Lāhainā Water Quality Monitoring

Is the Ocean Safe on West Maui?


During the August 8 fire in Lāhainā, toxins and pollutants were immediately leaked from sunken boats and released into the air via smoke. Unfortunately, the ash that continues to cover the burnt area of Lāhainā Town is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins that are dangerous for humans to breathe or be exposed to. The Maui Chapter is undertaking additional water quality monitoring to better understand the impacts of these toxins in the nearshore, ocean areas surrounding Lāhainā. 


Impacts to Ocean Users

The Maui Chapter has been particularly focused on understanding how post-fire toxins may impact ocean goers. This has been especially challenging given issues around access to the burned areas, as well as a general lack of understanding of how these toxins react or change in the ocean environment. There are also no human health standards for these toxins in ocean water. The only human health standard for ocean water is Enterococcus bacteria, which is measured via our Blue Water Task Force program. 

Toxic ash & debris remain present along the Lāhainā shoreline. We strongly advise individuals to avoid the nearby ocean areas.

Blue Water Task Force Data

As part of its Blue Water Task Force Program, the Surfrider Foundation Maui Chapter is analyzing water quality samples along West and South Maui for enterococcus, a fecal indicator bacteria that can indicate the presence of human wastewater or contamination from warm-blooded mammals like pigs and goats. Results after a heavy rain event on January 9 show areas along both West and South Maui exceeding state health standards.


Post-Fire Water Quality Resources

West Maui Water Quality 

Upcountry Maui Post-Fire Resources

  • Maui Recovers